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Jun 21, 2021 12:03 PM
Erol struggles with the concept of being a person
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"...You don't have to tell me, but I'm sorry I made you think you couldn't talk to me."

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"You... I wasn't... I should have. I know I should have."

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"I'm still mad at you," she tells him again, but she hugs him tightly.  "You idiot."

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"I'm--I'm trying to fix things. Val, tell her...?"

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"Tell her what?"

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"That we're fixing things, that I'm trying to make up for as much as I ever can."

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"Are you? I thought we finished about as much of that as we could do."

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"...That's not enough. There has to be more, this isn't enough."

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"I don't think we can directly fix anything else but we could do other good things. I just don't know what."

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"Oh," he says, relaxing a little.

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"You'd better," Rani says, and squeezes tighter until Erol has to tell her to stop.

"You'd better make this all worth it."

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The next day Ashelin lets them know she's decided on a replacement for Erol to train.

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He does not want to do this but it's what he's agreed to.

He'll meet them when- and wherever Ashelin says.

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He might recognize his replacement. Torn, formerly in the Krimzon Guard. A deserter. A rebel. Rumor says he was high up in the underground, maybe second only to the Shadow, or maybe he was the Shadow. He's the one who betrayed the underground to save Ashelin from her father. He's not happy to see Erol.

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Oh boy.

"How... much did Ashelin tell you?"

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"You're retiring."

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....Is Ashelin going to make him explain the whole thing again. He doesn't want to explain the whole thing again.

Well. Not like he has much of a choice.

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Then he can observe Torn's most unimpressed face.

"Do you expect me to care?"

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He shakes his head.

"Just to know what's going on."

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"Already knew you were a headcase."

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Maybe it's a good thing it's like this. He doesn't want to care about anything right now. He doesn't want any of this to be real or happening.

He straightens up; the expression on his face changes.

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Torn continues to look at him with exactly the same disdain and boredom.

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"Oh. You."

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"What do you think you're doing here?"

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